Gibsonton Woman Pleads Guilty To Aggravated Identity Theft Relating To Fraudulent Tax Returns
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Bernadette Demps today pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. She faces a mandatory minimum of two years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
According to the plea agreement, in 2011, Demps received more than $43,000 in income tax refund checks into a business bank account which she controlled. All of these deposits were in the names of other individuals. The direct deposits were all the result of fraudulent tax returns, which had been filed a short time earlier with the IRS, using the names and personal identification information related to those persons. Demps withdrew the funds from her account almost immediately, either via ATM cash withdrawals or other means.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the Clearwater Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.